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Archive for the ‘Child care’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As you may have heard, last Friday Congress reached a bipartisan deal on the national budget, which President Trump signed. The agreement includes major funding increases for programs that affect children and families. It’s a wise investment that is making headlines.

“There’s still a lot to be worked out, and the deal gives Congress six weeks to hammer out the final details. But congressional leaders have already signaled what they plan to give to certain domestic programs,” according to an Education Week article featured on the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a national nonprofit.

The budget doubles funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant — an increase that would allow states to serve 230,000 more children, including 4,780 here in Massachusetts.

According to Education Week, “The bill provides $650 million to provide disaster relief to Head Start centers affected by the 2017 hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” (more…)

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“We cycled through one child care arrangement after another. And every transition sent me into a near-panic. Every time it represented a failure. One night, after I’d put the kids to bed, my 78-year-old Aunt Bee called long-distance from Oklahoma to just see how I was doing. And I said sure, I’m find, I’m doing okay, I’m fine.

“And in the middle of a sentence, I just started to cry. And once I started, I could not stop. I was failing. I was failing my kids. I was failing my family. I was failing my teaching. I was doing laundry at 11 o’clock at night and class preps after midnight. And I felt like I was always behind. And then I said something that shocked me when I said it. I told Aunt Bee I was going to quit my job. My beloved teaching job. It’s like it just fell out of my mouth.

“Aunt Bee’s waiting on the other end long-distance. She waits for me to quit crying, waits for me to blow my nose and get a drink of water. And then she very matter-of-factly said, ‘I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.’ And she arrived with seven suitcases and a Pekinese named Buddy and stayed for 16 years.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) speaking at the National Women’s Law Center 45th Annual Gala, October 18, 2017

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“Child Care is unaffordable across America.”

That’s what the national nonprofit Child Care Aware declared last month when it released the report “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017.”

The report as well as an interactive map with state data and a social media kit all provide an overview of the challenges and useful tools for advocates who want to raise public and legislative awareness.

 

 

“Right now, a single parent who works and has an infant in a child care center pays more than 27 percent of household income for care – and that is unacceptable,” a Child Care Aware blog explains.

How much should families pay on average? No more than 7 percent of their income, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate made in 2016. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

How can the United States do better for its toddlers?

Answers abound in a series of articles produced by the Hechinger Institute and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project. A mix of these articles appear on Hechinger’s website and also on Slate’s.

“Could we improve America by treating 2-year-olds better?” the title of an article by Lillian Mongeau asks.

“Parents dread the terrible twos, but what makes the year so tough for many families isn’t just tantrums in supermarket aisles or toilet-training disasters. It’s the difficulty of finding safe, high-quality child care in a country that offers parents limited choices of questionable quality and little guidance on how to make those choices. This neglect could have far-reaching consequences—research shows that a toddler’s daily environment can have a lasting effect on her brain structure for a lifetime.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Alaska to Maine, states all have their own early education policies – and these policies are changing all the time. To help advocates keep up, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has released its latest state-level policy update.

It’s “a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2017 legislative sessions as of September 2017.” The policy update also doubles as a playbook of good ideas that states can borrow from each other.

A national nonprofit, the Ounce, “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age five.”

Among the policy update’s key themes:

“The groundswell of support and acknowledgment of the importance of a child’s social-emotional development continues.” And a majority of states have “strong leadership, burgeoning champions and increased interest in supporting high-quality early learning and development.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

In Massachusetts, too many family live in “child care deserts” — communities where the demand for child care is far greater than the supply of high-quality spots.

“Despite the more than 8,000 licensed child care providers across the state, Massachusetts, like so many other areas across the country, is facing a child care crisis,” the national nonprofit Child Care Aware noted last year in its inaugural report, “Child Care Deserts: Developing Solutions to Child Care Supply and Demand.”

“… we found that these deserts are especially prevalent in low-income communities, rural communities, among families of color, and among families with irregular or nontraditional work schedules.”

Now, Child Care Aware is providing an interactive look at child care deserts in Massachusetts through a new “story map.”

Story maps are a unique advocacy tool because they bring data to life. The maps are created by an app that let users combine maps, narrative text, images, and multimedia content. Story maps can be used to create everything from annual reports and virtual tours of college campuses to the history of a city’s public art to a crowd-sourced map of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

To create a child care story map for Massachusetts, Child Care Aware looked at three issues: (more…)

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